Hearing Loss

  Understanding Hearing Loss

A hearing loss causes a decrease in the ear’s ability to hear sounds at a normal level.  Types of hearing, womanhearing loss are:  sensorineural (nerve), conductive  (mechanical) or mixed  (combination of both types). 

Sensorineural hearing loss is a permanent hearing loss.  Damage to the nerve of the inner ear, or sound processing centers of the brain is the cause.  A conductive hearing loss is a mechanical disruption that prevents the transmission of sound through the ear.  It may be corrected with surgery or medical treatment.  A mixed hearing loss is a combination of both types of hearing loss: sensorineural and conductive.  The severity of hearing loss is categorized as mild, moderate, severe or profound (deaf).   

Common causes of hearing loss include:  noise, aging, systemic diseases (such as diabetes, kidney and cardiovascular disease), genetics, ototoxic medications (medications with a toxic effects on hearing) and other conditions.

Hearing and listening are two separate skills.  (see Listening vs. Hearing).  We are unable to predict how well an individual can listen.  People with similar hearing loss may not have the same listening skills.  The brain plays an important role in hearing, listening, processing and cognitive skills – all of which determine how well you will hear!